Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2013 International Transgender News in Review

Prepared by Monica Roberts:

Just like 2012, the year 2013 on the international front was a good news, bad news one for the international trans community.

Let's start with the fact that we continue to see unacceptable levels of anti-trans violence, discrimination and murder being leveled at our people, with the most egregious levels of it happening in various Latin American nations, Brazil, the United States and Turkey.

There was also the horrific case in Jamaica of 16 year old transteen D. Jones being set upon by a mob during a street party and beaten, shot, stabbed and run over by a car for the crime of being her true self.

We witnessed the disappointing defeat of PLC 122 last week, a bill that would have prohibited gender identity and sexual orientation discrimination in Brazil. We also saw the Gulf States led by Kuwait consider a ban on transpeople entering the area for employment purposes in October, and expressed concern about transpeople in Russia, Nigeria and Uganda being caught in the backlash spawned by the various draconian anti-gay laws in those nations.

Despite that negative news, the international trans human rights picture overall is an increasingly bright one.

In addition to the United Nations holding on September 26 a first ever ministerial level meeting to discuss TBLG human rights issues, several nations have made moves either with favorable court rulings, administrative rule changes, ended forced sterilizations or SRS in order to do name changes, or are considering or passed legislation to streamline their name change process for transgender people like the Netherlands.

The Philippines held congressional hearingsDecember 5 to discuss an inclusive anti-discrimination bill, and a trans inclusive ENDA passed in the United States Senate on a 64-32 vote. 

While the US state of New York's senate frustratingly refused to allow GENDA to come to a vote on the floor after its passage for the sixth consecutive session by the New York state assembly, the state of Delaware showed them how it was done by becoming the 17th US state to pass a trans inclusive human rights law.

In Canada, progress on the passage of C-279, the Trans Rights Bill was stalled by the Conservatives in the Canadian Senate on the verge of its Third Reading vote in June. After summer recess, it was dealt another blow by the prorogation of Parliament, which forced it to start the Senate legislative process from the beginning stages after it was reinstated. C-279 is currently at Second Reading stage in its repeat Senate legislative journey.

C-279 passed the Canadian House on a final 149-137 vote back on March 20 with Prime Minister Stephen Harper being one of the NO votes and current Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau being MIA for it.

The Canadian and the international trans community will be watching to see if the Canadian Senate values its trans citizens and passes this much needed law.


Canadian trans kids are also front and center in current north of the 49th parallel trans rights battles. Mat Asano in Quebec, Harriette Cunningham and Tracey Wilson in British Columbia are fighting for recognition of their identity in addition to battling documentation issues in those two provinces. 

My Canadian trans cousins did have something else to cheer in 2013 as the province of Newfoundland and Labrador became the latest Canadian legal jurisdiction to protect trans human rights and Quebec has introduced legislation that addresses the trans documentation issue.

On the political front, while Polish MP Anna Grodzka continues to blaze trails as only the third elected trans MP in world history, we are still waiting for the first ever elected trans national legislator in the Western Hemisphere to happen. Attempts by Diane Rodriguez in Ecuador in February and Valentina Verbal in Chile to get elected to their respective national legislatures unfortunately fell short.

Verbal's was for an all too frustratingly familiar reason to transpeople around the world, She pulled out because of documentation issues.


Speaking of history making trans politicians, was nice to hear about the combination fundraiser and tribute for Georgina Beyer, the world's first ever elected trans MP who is battling chronic kidney failure and is awaiting a transplant. The well attended tribute event was held in Wellington, NZ on Beyer's 56th birthday on November 14.



As a child of the African Diaspora, one of Monica's blog's missions is to highlight the issues facing my continental trans brothers and sisters on the African continent and across the Diaspora so they get the attention they deserve. 

Despite the recent depressing news from our planet's second largest continent emanating from Uganda and Nigeria, there is positive movement trans human rights wise to report on the African continent.

There's increased regional cooperation and coordination with various indigenous organizations on the African continent concerning trans rights issues.

Kenyan trans activist Audrey Mbugua's lawsuit requesting KNEC change her documentation on her school records to reflect who she is now fostered a wider conversation in her nation about trans people and our human rights issues and concerns.

Titica's continued growing musical popularity in Angola and the southern African region led to her being named as a UNAIDS goodwill ambassador. Continue here

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